“There ought to be something very special about the boundary conditions of the universe, and what can be more special than the condition that there is no boundary?” – Stephen Hawking
Context: Physicists Debate Hawking’s Idea That the Universe Had No Beginning
There is a debate among cosmologists about the relative merits of considering that the Universe was spontaneously created out of nothing or that it has existed forever. Any conjecture on this topic may have to take into account that our own biological matrix, our temporal experience and predisposition towards cognitive grammars (through which we reflexively and recursively self-validate and ascribe structure or meaning) biases us towards a teleology, an epistemological closure and purpose or logical end-state to these things where none may actually exist or may exist in radically different ways than we generally suppose. A solution determining that the Universe began from nothing or has existed forever is, under one perspective of logic and material ontology, fundamentally the same solution and fact. To have existed forever is a different view on the same fact as to have been created from nothing.
For a Universe to have spontaneously emerged from nothing may be an alternate view on the notion that it has always existed. It is not the logic which fails so much as the apparent boundaries of our own language and minds.
2 replies on “A Boundless Cosmos”
Would you also say that assertions that the Universe will last forever and that the Universe will end in a state of nothingness (by means of expansion or contraction) are essentially the same thing?
I would say that our mental states and aspirational intelligence have emerged from this mystery but, being encapsulated by it in the ways we are, we may not be able to understand it. Quantum mechanics is not weird, for instance, it is just radically alter to our limited biological and evolutiin-provided perceptions and experience of the world. There us a fundamental discontinuity running through the center of things and we are unable to identify it because it manifests as impossibility and emptiness or nothingness. It has a logical presence, but it is not definable. In this sense the nothingness referenced here is subtle and unprovable but may be, mischievously, provably so. ☺
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